Skip to main content

Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

See other formats


262                                  ABSTRACT OF A  PAPEK
be the line next beyond the last represented in M. BecquerePs map. Under very favourable circumstances two dusky bands were seen still further on. Several circumstances led the author to conclude that in all probability fixed lines might be readily seen corresponding to still more refrangible rays, were it not for the opacity of glass with respect to those rays of very high refrangibility.
It is very easy to prove experimentally that the blue dispersed light corresponding to any particular part of the incident spectrum is not homogeneous light, having a refrangibility equal to that of the incident rays, and rendered visible in consequence of its complete isolation; but that it is in fact heterogeneous light, consisting of rays extending over a wide range of refrangibility, and not passing beyond the limits of refrangibility of the spectrum visible under ordinary circumstances. To show this it is sufficient to isolate a part of the incident spectrum, and view the narrow beam of dispersed light which it produces through a prism held to the eye.
In Sir David Brewster's mode of observation, the beam of light which was of the same nature as the blue light exhibited by a solution of sulphate of quinine was necessarily mixed with the beam due merely to reflexion from suspended particles; and in the case of vegetable solutions, a beam of the latter kind almost always exists, to a greater or less degree. But in the method of observation employed by the author, to which he was led by the discovery of the change of refrangibility, the two beams are exhibited quite distinct from one another. The author proposes to call the two kinds of internal dispersion just mentioned true internal dispersion and false internal dispersion, the latter being nothing more than the scattering of light which is produced by suspended particles, and having, as is now perfectly plain, nothing to do with the remarkable phenomenon of true internal dispersion.
Now that the nature of the latter phenomenon is better known, it is of course possible to employ methods of observation by which it may be detected even when only feebly exhibited. It proves to be almost universal in vegetable solutions, that is, in solutions made directly from various parts of vegetables. When vegetable products are obtained in a state of isolation, their solutions sometimes exhibit the phenomenon and sometimes do not, or at least exhibit it so feebly that it is impossible to say whether what they